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Lack of city buses hitting Metro ridership

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The Times Of India
18th October, 2020 04:56 IST

Nagpur: Even though Nagpur Metro is currently the cheapest and safest mode of public transport in the city, not many people are riding due to lack of feeder bus services. Only 947 people boarded the Metro on Friday, which is a third of pre-lockdown levels. The Sitabuldi-Khapri stretch will become operational from Sunday and its ridership won’t be any better due to lack of feeder buses.

Metro officials said that they had submitted proposals to Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to start feeder buses from eight Metro stations. “But the civic body sanctioned feeder buses for six stations only before the lockdown. Now, we will submit proposals for eight more stations next week and request the NMC to sanction buses for all 16 stations, including the two that were not sanctioned before the lockdown,” said an official.

Municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan B said that a meeting would be held with Metro officials soon and a plan would be prepared for starting the feeder services.

However, a transport official told TOI on condition of anonymity that the NMC would not start city buses any time soon. “The NMC’s committed monthly expenditure is Rs120 crore while we get Rs100 crore goods and services tax (GST) grant from the state government every month. The administration is finding it difficult to raise the rest of Rs20 crore. If the city buses are started, the NMC will have to incur an additional expenditure of Rs15 crore per month. Where will this money come from? If Metro wants feeder buses then it should compensate us for the loss in running feeder services,” he said.

Gajanan Pande of Grahak Panchayat slammed the NMC for not starting the city buses. “It is the basic duty of a civic body to provide water, sanitation, city bus services, fire services, etc. The officials can’t deny any of these services to us just because the NMC doesn’t have money. They must find ways to increase their revenue,” he said.

Pande pointed out that prices of petrol have increased in last few months. “In absence of the city bus services, people have to travel by two-wheelers. The salary or income of most people working in private sectors has gone down. The NMC, by not running the city buses, is making their lives miserable,” he said.

Savitri Hatwar, a domestic help, who lives in Manewada, said that her travel expenses had increased manifold due to no city bus services. “I have to travel by six-seater autorickshaws where the drivers pack us like animals. They charge more and it is unsafe too due to lack of social distancing,” she said.

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